Saturday, July 23, 2011


The other day my mom sent me a recent news clip that featured my little cousin’s girl Lily. She is the youngest runner in the story and it’s just too cute not to share. Her determination is pretty rare for someone her age and it really brought a smile to my face. Hope you enjoy!

My internship with the Missoulian is about to wrap up and I hardly can believe it. I have three big stories to finish and I’m pretty excited to have them published. There are a few stories I haven’t posted but will do that in the next day or two.

Not too much else going on but I have been enjoying the summer weather we’ve had. It’s been a little warm but definitely not as bad as most of the country. It’s strange not to have the humidity out here in western Montana but hey I’m not complaining!

Take it easy and stay cool people!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dragon Dictate

A few weeks ago at my internship, I became quite frustrated with how long it took me to type out a story. This got me thinking about again trying speech recognition software and hopefully this would be the solution to my problem.

The only available software that I could order for my Mac was Dragon Dictate. I’ve had a mostly hate relationship over the years with this product. My trouble had always been getting the program to recognize my voice with a decent amount of accuracy. I usually ended up by being so frustrated that I stopped using it. My past experience made me skeptical but there weren’t any other options.

I got the software installed but after a day of using it with great success the USB card that came with my Bluetooth headset crapped out on me. It was frustrating but a new card had to be mailed to me. I was able to continue working with the program with a different headset, while I waited receive a replacement card.

Yesterday I was finally able to get the new microphone to work. In these past few weeks despite some glitches, the software has worked great. Even with my ventilator it hasn’t missed a beat.

It’s amazing how fast I’m able to type and getting a paragraph written only takes a matter of minutes. This definitely will help me get stories typed much faster and the increased productivity has made me feel much more independent. Overall, I’d give the Dragon for Mac about a 9.5 out of 10. The downside is it misses an occasional word but the program gets better accuracy the more you correct its mistakes.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Latest stories

Arlee Powwow

Photo by Flickr user BigSkyKatie

I’ve been a little too busy to keep up on posting my stories as they are published but will list them in an accompanying blog post.

The internship keeps going fantastic and I’ve learned so much in a little over a month. I’m working on several stories at the moment including stuff for a few longer feature pieces. It’s hard to believe I only have three weeks left but I’m going to learn as much as I can in the time left.

I spent the Fourth of July up in Arlee Montana for their big yearly powwow celebration. The powwow has been a Fourth of July tradition since the late 1800s and the story of its beginning is quite interesting.

During the last part of the 19th century, federal Indian agents were banning any celebration of traditional Indian culture because they wanted native peoples to integrate fully into white society. Traditional Indian celebrations were considered a barrier to these assimilation efforts.

The natives got creative and told the federal reservation agents they weren’t having a powwow but instead were holding a celebration recognizing America’s independence. This satisfied agents because they thought the native peoples were being patriotic and not reverting back to their traditional ways. I love the ingenuity of how they we able to keep their culture alive and fool the agents at the same time.

This was the first powwow I’ve ever been to and it was quite interesting. The dancing was phenomenal and the age of dancers ranged from three-year-olds to older gentleman in their late 80s. I liked it all but the little kids dancing was my favorite part. These young kids are so vital because they will be the next generation to keep these traditions alive.

I had a fresh foot-long corn dog for lunch and a fresh squeezed lemonade but I couldn’t leave without having some fry bread. Definitely not health food but hey it tasted so darn good! It was a great way to spend the Fourth and I ended the night by going to the fireworks here in Missoula with Theresa and Dustin. The fireworks were fantastic as usual and it rounded out a great day.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Week 2 articles

Missoula churches look to provide temporary housing for homeless

Man wants unnamed Glacier peak dedicated to his dad, a former park worker

Missoula Moose Lodge to mark century of service

Former Lucky Diamond casino manager accused of embezzling nearly $400K

Week 1 articles

EPA awards $1.2M in soil cleanup money to Kalispell, CSKT

UM scholarship created for Japanese students affected by tsunami

Missoula man wins national Older Volunteers Enrich America Award


This spring I began the pursuit of finding an internship for the summer. Journalism majors are required by the School of Journalism to complete 240 internship hours before being able to graduate. I figured now was the time to get this done if I wanted to graduate with my class next year.

Portfolios were assembled and mailed out to almost every newspaper in western Montana. I didn’t know where my path would lead but as long as I could get quality reporting experience it didn’t matter where I went.

It didn’t take long before the Missoulian expressed interest in having me as a summer intern. I was excited to work for a large newspaper and it was my hope to do stories on a variety of topics.

Things got underway three weeks ago and I really had no idea what to expect. I just decided to take things as they came and report to the best of my abilities. The experience has been fantastic and everybody at the paper has been extremely kind to me.

The range of stories I’ve covered has been quite astonishing. Some of the stories I’ve done include: a new UM scholarship, naming a peak in Glacier National Park for a former employee, the Missoula Moose Lodge turning 100 and a high profile embezzlement case.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to interview a local sailor who is deployed on the USS George Washington in the Pacific Ocean. Everyday definitely brings something different to my desk and I love the surprise each story provides.

I’ll be posting my articles here weekly after getting the first few weeks up.

There is much ahead this summer in addition to my internship. I have a few road trips planned with the first taking me to the Vancouver Pug Gathering at the end of July. Hopefully if all works out, I’ll be North Dakota bound sometime in August.

Stay tuned and I’ll do my best with keeping my updates current.


Thursday, June 23, 2011


My blog has been out of action for many months and I figure it’s time to give things a bit of a jumpstart. I’ve been extremely busy these last few months, as I have transitioned into the world of professional journalism. To start things off let me begin with a brief summary of spring semester.

The bulk of this past spring was devoted to my Public Affairs reporting class. I must admit it scared the hell out of me to take the class after hearing the amount of work involved but I dove in headfirst anyway.

This class takes green student journalists and gives them the tools needed to succeed in the professional world. We met twice a week and were expected to file a weekly beat story in addition to whatever else we were covering. I choose to cover the city beat and it was a great way to learn about the inner workings of local government.

We also were required as a class to cover the regular Monday night meetings of the Missoula City Council for a month. It was a little crazy at first trying to file a story on a midnight deadline but it got better as time went on. City council meetings for the most part aren’t awful exciting but they do have their moments especially when public controversy is involved.

When our council duty was over, we were briefly exposed to the world of criminal justice. I learned how to access court documents and got the chance to cover the wrap up of a felony domestic violence case. The case was cut and dried because the defendant entered a plea agreement. I liked being in the courtroom but the case I chose to cover was over in three minutes. It was shocking to have things end so fast but it still was an invaluable experience.

During the semester I covered a variety of issues ranging from an epidemic of potholes in Missoula to medical facilities banning legally registered patients from using medical marijuana. There is a funny aside to the marijuana story.

This story was difficult because most facilities wanted to remain tight lipped on patient policies but that didn’t deter me from doing my job. Anyway, I visited a particular nursing home in town and the administrator was not very happy with my prying questions. I was quickly asked to leave the facility or the local authorities would be summoned.

I found my experience of being kicked out of a nursing home to be a hilarious case of irony. Reminds me of challenging authority back home but hey thats a story for another time!

The other highlight of Public Affairs class was getting a piece published in the school paper The Kaimin. I probed the failure of the University of Montana to follow updated regulations to the Americans with Disabilities Act concerning concert and event ticketing for folks with disabilities. Click to view the article: GrizTix not in compliance with new ADA regulations

I greatly enjoyed this course and it prepared me to take my journalistic skills to the next level. Our professor was amazing and I’ll definitely take his kernels of wisdom with me throughout the rest of my career.

Probably my favorite class this spring was Print/Web Design. I didn’t know how much work this class would be but it was worth every bit of effort.

This class introduced me to the digital world of professional printing and it was quite an intense learning curve at first. There was so much to learn and we had to throw all our preconceived notions out the window.

We used Adobe InDesign for all our work and it was great to learn many new skills. I worked hard on learning the software and I completed a wide variety of assignments. Some of these included newspaper layouts, a journalism portfolio, advertisements, a tabloid newspaper cover and other assorted projects.

The final exam required us to design a multi-page magazine layout, which implemented many of things learned over the semester. I put together a fictional dog magazine called Woof and the end product turned out great. If I can figure out how to do it, there will be a copy of my magazine here on the blog.

My trio of journalism classes was rounded out by Media Law. You may think this would be a boring class to take but I found it to be quite interesting and informative.

The class was broken up into discussing the different facets of law affecting the media. Topics ranged from media access and libel to obscenity and free speech. Hopefully I’ll never need to put many of these legal principles into use but it’s important to know what my rights are as a journalist. It’s hard to inform the public without having these protections in place for the media to use.

I enjoyed the part of class where we got to participate in mock trials dealing with certain parts of the law. Each person in the class was assigned to a group and we took turns acting as judges and lawyers representing different cases. Cases were spread out through the semester so it wasn’t too overwhelming to prepare for our particular roles. We also had to write legal briefs, which weren’t tons of fun but it was educational to research legal cases and precedents.

The semester was pretty taxing on me but everything worked out beautifully in the end. I was able to nail down A’s in all my courses and this made every late night worth it. My goal each semester is to work as hard as possible and let the chips fall where they may.

It’s hard to believe I only have a year of school left but at least my hardest semester is over and done with.